Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Citizens’ Expressions of Venom, Ignorance, and Unsupported Statistics

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Citizens’ Expressions of Venom, Ignorance, and Unsupported Statistics

The Gazette published several articles in last week’s edition in which citizens expressed venom, hate, ignorance, and questionable conclusions unsupported by the statistics cited.

First, four T.C. Williams High School alumni who are members of Alexandria’s wonderfully civic-minded Departmental Progressive Club accused the school’s namesake, T.C. Williams, of being “an intentional segregationist and did a lot of harm.” Supporters counter that Superintendent of Schools Williams developed an extraordinarily successful school system in which every school met the State accreditation standards in each of his more than 30 years of service.

Additionally, under William’s leadership, the State never once threatened to take over an Alexandria school as was Jefferson-Houston’s fate over a recent 10 year period under previous Superintendents.

Ironically, the “racist” accusations come from members of an organization that many accuse of being “sexist” as after 93 years of faithful service to the community, the organization in 2020, shockingly, still prohibits any women from being equal members.

Secondly, a forum whose membership, qualifications, diversity, and inclusiveness was not listed, made a number of scurrilous accusations against both the citizens of Alexandria, its institutions, and its esteemed Police Department. The article indicated city leaders vowed to dismantle inequities, although few specifics were part of the discussion. However, our Mayor, who has been in and out of our city government for the past 13 years, claimed “racial inequality for hundreds of years,” “a hard-wired white supremacy for 350 years … certainly in Alexandria.”

Finally, claims were made that, unjustly, “most arrests are of African Americans and almost half of the inmates at the Alexandria jail” are as well. Then statistics from 2015 indicate, a disproportionate share of the jail population is black; however, no facts indicate any incarcerations were unjust.

Ironically, the widely respected Earl L. Cook was Chief of Police from 2009 to 2016 and Assistant Chief or Deputy Chief since 1997. Are we to believe that Chief Cook, whose leadership was cited for Alexandria’s “historically low crime rate” during his tenure, led these purported inequities and racist incarcerations against his own people of color?

And why was this supposed “hard-wired white supremacy” permitted during Wilson’s previous terms as Vice-Mayor and City Council member and under the tenure of Mayor Bill Euille during his administration from 2003 to 2015?

Again are we to believe Mayor Euille and Police Chief Cook conspired against their own people to perpetuate this “hard-wired white supremacy”?

Perhaps too much political ambition, theatrical emotion, inflammatory television opinions, and a lack of careful consideration contributed to these outrageous claims unsupported by facts.

Perhaps Chief Cook and Mayor Euille are due apologies.

Gerald B. File

Alexandria, Va.